Connect Beyond Festival 2020 in Asheville, N.C.

Photo by @ashevillenomads

Psst. Our team just got the exclusive scoop on Connect Beyond Festival (a.k.a. Asheville’s homegrown version of A TED Talk meets your favorite podcast meets NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concert series meets Sundance Film Festival”). Now in its third year, the fest takes place April 3-5 across four locations in downtown Asheville and brings together (i.e. connects – get it?) visual art, music, film, creative writing + more through concerts, intimate interviews, panels, and other special events. Sign us up, please.

Gif by Giphy

In case it isn’t already obvious, we’re huge fans of this locally-grown festival, started by mover + shaker Jessica Tomasin, manager at Echo Mountain Recording and founder of Asheville Music Professionals (AMP) – among many other things. 

And, because this Asheville native misses the days of Bele Chere, Moogfest, and Lexington Avenue Arts Festival, I love the chance to support Connect Beyond Festival.

This year, a few familiar faces are on the lineup along with some new + noteworthy performers. Here are four things we’re thrilled about for the 2020 Connect Beyond Festival – 

  • Bob Boilen is back. The host of NPR’s All Songs Considered and the author of Your Song Changed My Life, Bob has been hosting fireside chat-style interviews onstage at the last two festivals. The setup is intimate, and interviewees – who are also stellar performers – share their music live and in the moment throughout the session. This year, he’s talking with Americana/folk duo Mandolin Orange for “An  Evening with Bob Boilen & Mandolin Orange” at the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts. Last year’s interview with Kishi Bashi was the highlight of my festival experience. And I’m not going to lie to y’all – I totally cried. 
  • It’s movie time. The schedule this year includes some fab filmmakers + screenings curated by festival partner Social Construct Films. Film industry presenters include Albert Berger (Producer of Little Miss Sunshine and Nebraska through Bona Fide Pictures), Emmy + Peabody award-winning filmmaker Susan Koch, Jim Miller (Brave New Films), Bedonna Smith (Anonymous Content), local filmmaker + visual artist Kira Bursky, and Zak Kilberg (Producer and founder, Social Construct Films).
  • The news is in. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Megan Twohey (of The New York Times), Yohanna Desta (Vanity Fair), and Gracie Award-winning Viriginia Prescott (host of Georgia Public Broadcasting’s On Second Thought) are all scheduled to present. 
  • There are more ticket options. Besides General Admission ($99) and VIP passes ($199; includes all events, happy hour receptions, brunch + networking opportunities), the fest is also offering two new passes. If you can’t go but want to support, you can purchase the Community Pass ($45), which helps local youth attend the festival. Student passes are also available for 20% off the GA price. There are also Travel Packages at CAMBRiA Downtown Asheville ($548+ for 2-night stay, tickets, and more). Who’s ready for a staycation? 🙋

Hungry for more connection? Keep reading to see the first wave of the 2020 lineup.👇 The schedule and more presenter details will be announced in early March.

Connect Beyond Festival 2020 Lineup

Albert Berger – Producer, Bona Fide Pictures (Little Miss Sunshine, Nebraska)

Angelica R. WindOur VOICE

Bedonna Smith – Anonymous Content

Bob Boilen – Host of NPR’s All Songs Considered and author (Your Song Changed My Life)

Brie Capone

Doc Klein

Ellen Steloff

Irene Romero

Jason Lust

Jessica Tomasin – Founder, Connect Beyond Festival

Jim Miller – Brave New Films

Johnny Irion – Musician

Ken Paulson1st Amendment Center

Kira Bursky – Filmmaker & Visual Artist

Linda Marshall – Professor, in Suppressed

Lisa Zahiya

Lonnie Holley 

Mandolin Orange – Americana/Folk Duo

Matt Arnett

Megan Twohey – American Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist with the New York Times

Stevie Phillips – Agent, Author

Susan Koch

Dr. Virginia Prescott

Yohana Desta – Vanity Fair

Zak Kilberg – Social Construct Films